Transcription factor Ets-1 regulates fibroblast growth factor-1-mediated angiogenesis in vivo: role of Ets-1 in the regulation of the PI3K/AKT/MMP-1 pathway.
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We previously demonstrated that a modified secreted form of fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF-1), a prototypic member of the FGF family, has the ability to stimulate angiogenesis in an in vivo model of angiogenesis, the so-called chick chorioallantoic membrane assay or CAM. We recently defined the importance of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT pathway in FGF-1-mediated angiogenesis in this model using specific pharmacological inhibitors. In our continuing efforts to define the molecular signaling pathway regulating FGF-1-induced angiogenesis in vivo, we utilized a transcription factor activity assay and identified transcription factor Ets-1 as a critical effector of FGF-1-induced angiogenesis. Both activity and mRNA expression levels of the Ets-1 molecule were increased in response to FGF-1 overexpression in CAMs, as documented by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (gel shift) and reverse transcription real-time PCR techniques, respectively. Furthermore, the delivery of Ets-1 antisense (AS) into CAM tissues effectively reduced angiogenesis in the CAM assay. In addition, both Ets-1 AS-treated chicken CAMs and cultured endothelial cells exhibited a reduction in matrix metalloproteinase 1 gene expression levels. The Ets-1 AS-treated endothelial cells also demonstrated a reduction in migration. These data suggest that Ets-1 activation is a requisite for FGF-1-mediated angiogenesis in vivo. Therefore, Ets-1 might be a potential target for the generation of inhibitor drugs for the treatment of FGF-dependent pathological angiogenesis such as metastatic tumors, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic retinopathy.